Some ingredients in our personal products are a concern for person health and water quality.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits the misrepresentation or misbranding of products, it does not require ingredients, other than color additives, to have the agency’s approval before going on the market. It is the responsibility of those who make or market personal care products to ensure that they are safe.
Choose simple, healthy products for your skin, hair, and face
Buy products that are simple, meaning they contain the fewest ingredients possible. A long ingredient list doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more great ingredients. It can mean that the product contains a lot of fillers like preservatives, surfactants, and emulsifiers.
Avoid siloxanes. Any ingredient ending in "siloxane" or “cone” (such as dimethicone) is a siloxane. They are toxic to aquatic life and cause a lot of trouble at wastewater treatment plants.
Avoid synthetic fragrance. Look for the term “fragrance free.” Products labeled “unscented” can contain fragrance that masks the product’s natural odor.
Avoid synthetic dyes. They have no function in your product. This is simply a brand’s attempt to set itself apart from other brands, or to make products more appealing. Dyes are easy to spot on labels. Anything with a color name (D&C Red) is a synthetic dye.
Use the smallest amount of product needed to do the job. Typically, this is considerably less than what the product instructions state.
Use the fewest number of products to do the job. You don’t need different shampoos or other products for you, your children, and your spouse. Find one that you feel good about and use it for the whole family.
Choose products that can serve multiple purposes. A product like witch hazel, for instance, can replace skin cleanser and astringent.
Buy things in containers that can be reused, and then reuse them! Avoid plastic containers, which can leach chemicals into your product. Look for ingredients that you could eat.
Be leery of products that are labeled with words like “natural,” “botanical,” or “pure.” These designations can be misleading and products with these labels may still contain toxic ingredients.
Recipes for nontoxic hair and body care
Summer Streets, a former esthetician, now environmental chemist at the MPCA, shared some of her favorite recipes for nontoxic hair and body care.